HBO announced today it is canceling its Brooklyn-based, Jonathan Ames-penned Bored To Death, and all I could think was, in the words of Ray, “My brain is attacking itself.” Let’s take a moment to pay homage to a show that for three seasons brought together some of finest in entertainment including Jason Schwartzman, Zach Galifinakas, Ted Danson and often featured Brooklyn’s own John Hodgman. Ok, ok…so the characters these guys played and I don’t share mirrored lives, but a lot of the shenanigans rang true to a struggling Brokelynite. Amateur detective Jonathan Ames fought to master the world of freelance clients, scraping together pennies to feed his white-wine addiction and crashing swanky parties for the free booze and possible dates. And haven’t we all at one time or another taken an additional job, say teaching a writing class to disinterested night students, just to pay the bills? I loved Bored to Death not only for its fabulous talent and intricate, belly-laugh-inducing writing, but most of all because it all went down in my favorite city, in the little (huge) borough of Brooklyn.
It’s not that surprising that it wasn’t pulling in a big audience: in retrospect, it’s surprising it lasted so long, as the whole thing plays out like one big Brooklyn in-joke, riffing on the local idiosyncrasies we love to hate like pretentious foodies, feuding writers, co-op stoners, Ditmas Park lesbians and, of course, the omni-present stroller mafia (as seen in the clip above). Occasionally it got existential, and for the struggling writer in Brooklyn, it was hard not to see Ames as a hero painting an alluring coat of mystique to a sometimes (financially) grim profession.
Whenever you’re traveling afar, turning on the show is like opening a little postcard book from back home, with its scenes set in front of familiar Brooklyn sites, whether it’s the clock tower of One Hanson Place, Bergen Street Comics or an idle block of brownstones in Fort Greene. To quote the detective, himself, “All topics with you feel painful,” Bored to Death. I’m going to miss you more than words can say.
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